A WAR TO END ALL WARS
Thanks to: Michelle, my old flame
May time heal all wounds
The sound of combat could be heard off in the distance. Sword against sword, gunfire being shot, and sound of the young screaming in anguish. ShinRa has finally trapped the Wutai in their capital but the Wutai had planned to fall back and force the ShinRa into a battlefield of their choosing. The Wutai chose well, for in their capital, they hid in every corner and struck without warning or mercy.
On a hill outside the capital city, three men looked down on a map. The battle wasn't going well and the screams they heard were the sound of English, not Asian. The ninja clan had been butchering the ShinRa army. It got worse when a soldier ran to the trio.
"General Sephiroth, the enemy has summoned a great serpent," heaved the soldier.
Sephiroth walked over beside the soldier to see this serpent. The general wore a large black coat with metal shoulder pads. He appeared very youthful; his eyes glowed green with the power of Mako that was infused within him. His long white hair blew in his face, pointing him in the direction of the ninja capital.
In the square there stood a pagoda that was erected high in the sky and was the key point of winning the war. Now, encircling the fortress was a huge behemoth in the shape of a sea dragon. The beast opened its mouth, sending several tidal waves at the Shinra army, pushing them miles away if not killing them altogether.
"Leviathan," whispered Sephiroth.
The general turned back to his two companions, smiling widely. One of the general's best men looked at him in confusion. The first class SOLDIER stood up, staring at his mentor and friend in his eyes. The battle just got worse and the general was smiling.
"Time to end this pointless war, Zack," Sephiroth nodded to his protégé and then nodded to his other companion. "Don't you agree, Tseng?"
Zack tilted his head at Sephiroth. Zack was smaller in frame than his friend but there was no doubt that in the next few years he could rival Sephiroth's position and reputation. The first class SOLDIER looked as if he was eighteen and wore a tight navy blue jumpsuit. His hair was long and spiky, which got in his way when he tried to sheath his sword on his back.
To Zack's left was Tseng. Tseng appeared to be the eldest of the three. He wore a black business suit and was wearing two rifles on his back. His black hair was slicked back in a tight braid. Tseng seemed more of a business man than a warrior but many assumed him weak… they are all dead.
"Seth, haven't you noticed the new problem?" asked Zack.
"Ah, a problem or blessing in disguise," pointed Sephiroth.
Tseng and Zack stared at each other and then back to the general. They both shrugged, not understanding his point. Sephiroth could only sigh.
"That beast requires much power and concentration to be controlled. The emperor must be in the pagoda keeping it in check. All we have to do is get the emperor and the beast will fall," announced the general.
Sephiroth slammed his hand on the map. A plan began to form. His eyes lifted from the map, falling on his companions.
"Tseng, do you have an Energy Drain Materia?" asked Sephiroth.
Tseng nodded and reached into his pocket and tossed the blue rock at his leader. Sephiroth snatched it out of mid-flight and handed the gem over to Zack.
"Combine this with your sword. It will create what is called an Energy Buster. Now Tseng," informed the general pointing at the map. "I need you to surround the enemy. Make it appear as if we want to corner them. I will keep the Leviathan busy."
Sephiroth and Tseng looked at the first class SOLDIER. Zack tilted his head, not quite understanding the plan.
"Zackary, you will sneak in and drain the emperor's powers. Once his people see the serpent fall, they will believe their leader fell," Sephiroth declared. The general smiled and added, "Without morale, there is no unity."
The three soldiers grinned and pressed against each others left fists in the middle of the table. Together, they placed their righ fists over their hearts in a salute. This war will end one way or another.
"Emperor, the enemy is surrounding us," came a voice from the opposite side of the door.
The emperor opened his eyes, though he was too focused on seeing his surroundings. He reached inside his very being, forcing energy through his red materia to his guardian. The emperor looked through the Leviathan's eyes, using the power of water to force his enemies back.
"Have my four samurais defend the city in all directions," the emperor commanded.
"Yes sire. Each samurai in one direction," replied the voice.
Sephiroth rallied the southern platoon to charge the pagoda. Without question, his men charged at the Wutai ninjas. A wave of water pushed Wutai and ShinRa alike. No one was standing; no one but Sephiroth.
The Top SOLDIER charged at the beast. Another wave of water struck the general but the attack did not slow him. The white hair swordsman ran up a tree and leapt at the serpent, his eight foot long blade called Masamune leading the way. The sword embedded into the creature sending a scale flying.
The creature howled in pain. Sephiroth grinned in determination.
A child cupped her ears and began fleeing through the streets, trying to get into the safety of her home. She ran past a samurai. An explosion of fiery pain came up her leg, as a shot aimed for the samurai hit her instead.
Tseng flinched as his rifle missed his target and blew off an innocent girl's leg. The soldier ran to the girl to help her but the samurai lifted his katana and brought it down to kill the ShinRa soldier. Tseng lifted his rifle up, just in time to parry the blade. The katana went right through the gun.
"She's dying, fool!" Tseng yelled, pointing at the girl with the missing leg.
The samurai refused to take his gaze off of the soldier. His eyes burrowed deep into Tseng's eyes, seeing desperation and remorse. The Asian warrior looked over his shoulder and saw his daughter mortally wounded.
"YUFFIE!" screamed the samurai.
Tseng slipped into the shadows, heading back to his western point. The samurai ran to the fallen girl, picked her up, and ran from combat.
Damn you, Seth. I'll get you for this, thought Zack as he continued his climb up the pagoda. He reached up and found another hand hole to grasp and heaved himself up. Zack thought back to why he joined the war. The battle against the Wutai was growing and becoming closer to his home. ShinRa wanted and needed some strong, good men. Zack remembered he needed to protect his friends, his family, and a girl who was waiting for him back in Midgar. Most importantly, he honestly believed that this war was to end all wars.
Looking down, the first class SOLDIER saw the Leviathan grab Sephiroth in its maw, shook the general around, and spat him into the nearest tree. The general slowly got up, truly hurt by that attack. Zack flinched. Um, never mind.
"By all reports, we are losing," said President Shinra, seeing into a tube where a SOLDIER was floating in some green fluid, obviously Mako.
"Ah, but when we are done, we will have an army of Sephirothes. HAHAHA!" Hojo laughed.
The president was a short and plump man but he was a genius. Hojo was holding something back and the president knew it. Shinra looked around and saw three men lying off to the side in some cots.
"What about those three?" the president pointed out. Two of the men started shaking violently while the remaining man continued to slumber.
Hojo cleared his throat. "Ah, yes. Those three are failures."
The president narrowed his eyes.
"But the blonde is a success for SOLDIER," Hojo added quickly.
The president gazed over at the man, who seemed more like a boy. Likely the boy lied about his age to get into SOLDIER. The blonde man lifted his head up, looked around, and went back to sleep. The president looked back over to Hojo and raised an eyebrow.
"What rank?" Shinra asked.
"Um," Hojo paused and bowed his head, "fifteenth."
"Fifteenth! That's it! Shut down the Cloning Project! I'm not going to waste any more men and money to your failures, Hojo!" bellowed the president as he stormed off.
Hojo snapped his head at the blonde Sephiroth clone. The scientist ran over and gave the blonde a good kick.
"Good thing I didn't give you a number," Hojo spatted.
Tseng looked west, where the ninja clan began to fall back. The soldier's observations about the samurais were correct. The samurais were the leaders and now one was out of combat. Tseng shuttered as the thought on how he removed that threat from battle. Tseng shook his head.
This is war. Innocents are bound to get hurt, thought the soldier. Still, I don't have to like it.
"Captain Tseng," called a soldier.
"They left their west flank open. Gather the men, we're pushing hard. Also, get the southern point to fall back. If they advance, they will leave a gap in the southwest for us to take advantage of. You have your orders," Tseng commanded.
The soldier saluted and ran off, leaving the captain in thought. The sight of a little girl getting her leg blown off returned. Tseng sighed. At his feet he found some rather large scales. Picking them up, the soldier began to make haste towards the battle. Sephiorth, his friend, was in trouble.
Sephiroth parried a blow as the tail from the beast whipped at him. The general stood his ground and didn't even budge an inch. The Leviathan came down, fangs bared. Sephiroth ducked back so low that he felt his shoulders touch the ground. As a snake, the general snapped back up to his feet, slashing the beast.
The Leviathan glared at its nemesis. The human was strong and deserved respect but he was still human. He was still mortal.
Sephiroth returned the glare with a grin. The white haired swordsman knew he was getting tired. No man or beast has ever bested him. This beast on the other hand, wasn't from this plane of existence. While he struggled for air, the Leviathan wasn't winded. While his wounds flowed of blood, this beast's wounds were not serious.
Sephiroth knew he was the best but he knew as well that he was human. He continued to breathe hard and he knew that the serpent would never tire.
The Leviathan begun to spin around the great warrior. The spinning became a wall of water, which encased the swordsman. Sephiroth looked around desperately for an escape. There was none.
The walls came down on the general, crushing him with the weight of thousands of gallons of water. When the water flattened out onto the ground, Sephiroth was still standing.
"How can one man stand up against the great serpent?" asked the emperor.
"Because that one man is Sephiroth," replied a kind voice to the left.
The emperor turned his head and saw Zack jump into the top floor through the window. Zack scratched the back of his head and looked around. No guards, no defense. Just an old man? thought the SOLDIER.
The emperor stood, wrapped in his kimono which was dyed in red. The old emperor stood no more than five feet in height. He was balding on the top but his beard was halfway down his chest. The emperor seems to have lived at lease seventy winters.
Zack drew his blade. Looks can be deceiving.
"By my personal creed, I give you one chance to surrender," Zack calmly spoke.
The emperor arched an eyebrow at the youth. The emperor also eyed Zack and also knew better than to judge a person on first appearances.
"Come young man," said the emperor as he squatted in a defense stance.
Zack hesitated and groaned. He had to be a martial artist.
The young SOLDIER charged, his Buster sword swinging. The emperor side stepped and swept under his legs, tripping Zack. The SOLDIER followed through into a roll and came up to his feet before he turned around, just in time to see a foot land right between his eyes.
Zack fell hard to the floor, losing his sword in the fall. The emperor jumped up and landed right on the warrior's chest blasting the air right out of him. The emperor nonchalantly walked off of Zack.
Zack began seeing everything go black but shook his head, fighting to remain conscious. The emperor gazed over his shoulder, seeing Zack trying to get into a fighting stance.
"Come on old man," spat Zack.
The emperor sighed and closed his eyes, quite tired of fighting the young warrior inside and focusing on the fight against the greater warrior outside. When the emperor opened his eyes, he saw Zack's hand push out a fire spell. The emperor dived to his stomach and avoided the blast. Zack went into a roll and picked up his sword.
The emperor pushed himself up and squared himself in front of the youth. Zack grinned and the emperor noticed it was getting warm. The old man ran towards the young warrior, slapping Zack's attempts at trying to slash the emperor with his blade. The samurai spun around and kicked Zack in the gut at the same time punching him between the eyes.
Zack flew back and went right through the pagoda, which was quickly engulfed in flames. The young SOLDIER held on to the edge of the hole with his left hand. The emperor walked over and stared down at the resourceful man.
"Why continue to fight?" asked the emperor.
Zack looked up without fear. "I will end all wars," he said and slashed at the emperor with his free hand. The samurai jumped back into the pagoda. Zack climbed up and into the inflamed room.
The emperor saw something new in this warrior. Something he hadn't seen in decades; a true reason to fight. This warrior wasn't fighting for money, power, station or even his country. He was fighting for a cause.
Zack began to glow in a golden color. The emperor squatted into a defensive stance. Zack charged screaming, "You're brave, but I'm BRAVER!"
Zack leapt into the air and began to descend. There was nothing the emperor could do to stop the attack. He crossed his arms and felt the metal blade slice threw his left arm and into his spirit, draining the energy from his body. The emperor opened his palm and sent a gust of wind at the warrior. Zack went flying out of the pagoda.
Tseng pressed the Wutai ninjas back and was able to make an opening to his friend, Sephiroth. The ninjas regrouped to the northern edge and split into two groups, one to battle the ShinRa, the other to make a bucket brigade for the pagoda.
Sephiroth breathing became more and more like wheezing. He knew his left leg was broken, yet he continued to stand. He knew his right arm was worthless, yet he held his sword straight. It was a bluff, he knew, and if Zack didn't do anything to stop the battle, he would have to tell his men to retreat, even if he had to die in the process.
Tseng stood before his friend and pointed his rifle at the serpent. Sephiroth looked over to his friend and smiled. This was how he wanted to die; in battle with one of his friends. The general jumped at the serpent, one more attack still left in him. He heard a shot and saw a bullet deflect off the mighty scales. The general spun and didn't feel anything connect with his blade. He fell hard on his hip but the Leviathan was gone.
Tseng helped his friend to his feet and together, they looked up in time to see Zack go flying out of the pagoda and land hard on a bell. A loud BONG was heard throughout the city. Everyone paused and stared up at the burning pagoda. The emperor stood at the large hole, made from Zack's flight.
"My people this war has gone on long enough. ShinRa fought honorably but to continue would be pointless bloodshed. I, Emperor Chang, and the people of Wutai, surrenders," announce the emperor.
As one, the people of Wutai dropped their swords and bowed before their enemies. Zack walked back with a limp to his two friends. Sephiroth continued to look up to the emperor who vanished back within the wooden tower. The pagoda fell. The body of the emperor was never found.
"Congratulations on making it into SOLDIER, Cloud," said Zack patting his friend on the shoulder.
"Yeah, well, I'm only a fifteenth class. The war is over, I'll never make it as first class now," Cloud sighed.
Zack stared at his friend that he helped get into Midgar and into SOLDIER. He never understood why Cloud's expectations were so high, especially when it came to combat. Zack shrugged and grinned at Cloud.
"Yeah, it's over. But remember, the war almost killed your hero and me your friend," Zack replied elbowing Cloud.
Cloud did look to his friend and smiled. He always wanted to be strong and famous like his role model Sephiroth. Cloud always wanted a chance to battle beside his long admired hero and of course his new friend Zack. Now it seemed it wouldn't happen.
"Come on, cheer up. In a couple of weeks, Sephiroth and I are going out on a mission and I will get you to come with."
"Really," Cloud smiled broadly. "What's the mission?"
"There is a reactor that we will need to see to," said Zack.
"Where?" Cloud asked.
"Nibelheim," replied Zack.
Cloud put his hands behind his head and slammed his forehead on the table groaning. Zack could only laugh. Zack could fight any foe and understand them more than he would understand himself. But Cloud, he was something that the first class SOLDIER would never understand.